Verbal Ability – Confusing Words: Some Important Aspects

In this article we will study a few tips regarding Confusing Words:

1. Try to connect a key word to a concept.

Let’s take up an example pair: ‘further’ and ‘farther’. While ‘further’ means to or at a greater extent or degree or a more advanced stage, ‘farther’ refers to or at a greater distance in time or space.

Sentence examples:

The professor further complicated the concept of dynamics.

You need to travel farther than that to reach your destination.

Another example is that of the words ‘their’ and ‘there’. While ‘there’ refers to a place, ‘their’ refers to belonging or a group of people.

Sentence Examples:

My friends will be there soon.

Their daughter is soon moving abroad for higher education.

2. Maintain and carry flash cards on the go.

Make sure you note down these differences (accompanied with sentences for the words in the pair). Flashcards are nothing else but a deck of cards wherein you write the words on the one side and meanings on the other side. Carrying these cards with you allows you the luxury of quick revision whenever you want.

3. Make sure you focus on usage for these words

Make sure you focus on the usage of these words and build plenty of sentences for each pair. Unless you build and focus on the usage of these words, you will keep forgetting their actual differences.

4. Create some memory tricks (one-liners, associations, etc.) in order to memorize the differences

You can use memory tricks to learn the differences between these pairs. These tricks could be witty one-liners or associations (pictures or people) of a certain kind that help you ingrain the word in your memory.

For Example:

Discrete v/s discreet

Discreet – modest, prudent behavior

Discrete – separate, distinct

One-liner to learn the difference: Lovers named E meet discreetly; but jealous T forces the E’s to be discrete.  (Source: Everything you know about English by Bill Brohaugh)

Massive v/s Missive

Massive- Imposing in size or bulk or solidity

Missive – A written message addressed to a person or organization

One-liner to learn the difference: Missives are written missiles (like letters and messages) that can cause massive damage.